Packaging your Prophetic Word

By Elaina Ayala

It was 2008 and I was a brand new Christian. My life had just changed dramatically as a born-again believer, and in many areas, I was learning to walk again. On top of that, I was now having all sorts of spiritual experiences with God that I couldn’t quite put language on.

For instance, on any given day, I might have a strong feeling about a future situation, see an unusual reoccurring number sequence that later symbolized something real, or occasionally, elements from my dreams would show up in real life the next day. I soon realized, through many discussions with my mentors, that I had the gift of prophecy (as outlined, along with the other spiritual gifts, in 1 Corinthians 12).

I didn’t know how to navigate this gift, all I knew was I was receiving pieces of valid information that I didn’t quite know how to “package” for another human — well at least in a way they could connect to that wasn’t super messy and socially awkward. Man, did I make my share of messes?! Oops! Continue reading “Packaging your Prophetic Word”

From Striving to Surrender

I was at my wits end. I had prayed every prayer, stood for every altar call, repented from every sin I could think of, spent too much money, wrote down every prophetic word, and stressed myself into a mess. The thing I wanted most wasn’t happening. I thought to myself, “What am I missing?”

Many people knew what this something was, that I was believing God for. I had received several prophetic words from well-meaning individuals about specific timeframes they believed this something would happen for me. Each time those timeframes came and went, I got angrier and angrier. Continue reading “From Striving to Surrender”

Jesus, Our Redeemer

By Elaina Ayala

Jesus is our Redeemer.

He is not afraid of sin, nor is He afraid of pain. He proved that thoroughly. Religion shudders at the sight of sin, Jesus rushes in with compassion. Religion judges what it sees on the surface; Jesus redeems wholly and entirely.

When the Pharisees tried pressuring Jesus into condemning the woman caught in the act of adultery, He said these words that will forever burn in our hearts, “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7)

Continue reading “Jesus, Our Redeemer”

Help! I’m Processing Pain in Public

By Elaina Ayala

I was talking to a friend and fellow leader recently about a struggle they were having. It’s a struggle many of us experience, and it’s one I’ve heard quite a few times over the past few years. It’s the pressure we feel to be “on” when we are going through emotional processing. It’s the sobering reality of being visible in those times, when all we really want to be is hidden.

For most of my adult life, I’ve had this super awkward reoccurring dream. In the dream I’m trying to use a public bathroom and people keep invading my space. At times there will be people looking over the bathroom stall, sometimes they’re even trying to take pictures of me. Other times, I’ll be doing my business and the bathroom stalls just collapse. In each dream, whatever the scenario may be, one theme is being shouted to me loud and clear — you’re gonna have to “process” in public.   Continue reading “Help! I’m Processing Pain in Public”

A Leader’s Guide to Building a Prophetic Team

By Elaina Ayala

Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives–especially the ability to prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT)

I love that verse. I believe the Apostle Paul put such a great emphasis on the gift of prophecy because of what the gift of prophecy does!  It’s a gift that revives dry places (Ezekiel 37), brings light to the dark places (Genesis 1:3), and convicts people of their God-given identity (1 Samuel 10). The gift of prophecy is such a vital part of the church. People are finding out that God is real and are inviting Jesus into their hearts every week at our church because of this gift. Continue reading “A Leader’s Guide to Building a Prophetic Team”

You Can Call Him Father

by Elaina Ayala

Fatherlessness. It has touched too many people. Do you want to see a person without a father? You really don’t need to look far. The statistics are painful to read.

For me, it was normal to grow up fatherless. The majority of my close friends did not have great father relationships. Their fathers were either on drugs, in-and-out of jail, playing house with other women and their kids, or just simply absent. My close friends and I became family. We congregated together because being together made us feel normal.

Growing up, I took pride in being a strong, independent woman. I would rehearse things like this on a daily basis: “If you want anything done right, do it yourself” and “You don’t need a man to make you happy”. If I’m being honest, as a teenager I saw most men as weak and easy to manipulate.

I became a Christian at 19 years old and began experiencing freedom and inner healing in many areas —  but the ‘father area’? I was just fine. I never thought I was hurt in that area since I had never known what having a father was like. I figured that since nothing had been ripped away from me (like in the case of an ugly divorce), I was not missing anything. But deep down inside, and with my actions, I operated like an orphan. I handled my own stuff, I could make things happen,  I hustled, and I had an uncanny read on people. I definitely didn’t want anyone’s help. I looked forward to holding my head high and acknowledging that “I did this by myself.” But underneath my savvy exterior, I felt anxious, victimized, insecure, rejected, inferior and afraid.

As a brand new Christian, my pastor and his wife became my spiritual parents. I’ll never forget the day when I was working my job at the sandwich shop and began feeling sick. I notified my boss that I needed to go home. She was not happy about that and began yelling at me and making disrespectful comments toward me. As I was leaving the restaurant, upset and shaking, my pastor happened to call me. I answered the phone and told him what was going on. He commanded me, “Do not leave that restaurant, I’m on my way!” Five minutes later, as I’m sitting in my car, I see my pastor zip into the parking lot in a flurry. He comes up to my car and says, “Get out of the car, were going in there together!” Yikes! I was so nervous and I hated confrontation. We went back into the sandwich shop, and man, did he give my boss a piece of his mind! She stood there speechless. He made it really clear to her, and everyone else in restaurant for that matter, that NO ONE gets to talk to me like that. He told me to hand her my work keys, and that was that. Together, we quit the job and he assumed responsibility over me… like a father. No one had ever stuck up for me like THAT. THAT is what fathers do — and THAT is what God our Father does for his kids (Psalm 68:5).

The orphan mentality best operates, actually thrives, when a person believes they have no Defender or Protector. When a fierce Defender is present, there is confidence, there is no fear of being victimized ‘for they know their Defender is strong’ (Proverbs 23:10-11). Fathers are God’s models of protection in the life of a child and they shape their identity (Isaiah 64:8).

Through godly fathers, children learn to trust and to be confident. It’s through God’s masterful design, that those same children are set up to eventually look to Him later in life and establish a personal relationship with Him. Godly fathers and mothers are established in the home to model the attributes of God. It’s God’s plan and His divine process of revealing Himself to His beloved children.

When God-established protectors are not in place, deception creeps in. This deception is set on stealing confidence, identity and purpose. The lie is planted in the subconscious: You are not protected; so build walls and protect yourself because no one else is looking out for you. It’s a thought, that once established in the mind, sabotages any real chance of meaningful relationships, and ultimately drives a wedge between us and our Heavenly Father.

But even in the deepest areas of pain and ruins, God’s love is sufficient and can break down the barriers of fear and create a new sense of Home — a family with fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters. These people are meant to point us to our Heavenly Father who has been reaching out to us all along. It’s our job to let them in, to let them love us and not project onto them the image of the pain we’ve suffered. God’s plan has been, and always will be, for you to call him Father.